Muslim Disney worker sues after being harassed for wearing head covering

Imane Boudlal 
By: Shifra Unger 

A Muslim woman was constantly harassed by other employees at Disney, according to a lawsuit filed in court.

The former Disney employee announced on Monday, a federal lawsuit against the entertainment giant, saying she was harassed and unjustly removed from her job after refusing orders to remove her headscarf during work.

Imane Boudlal, a Muslim woman, said she had worked at the Storyteller Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim, California, for two years, when she started wearing the hijab at work.

Boudlal said she was told that the use of her Muslim clothing was a violation of company policy, and she would have to remove it, or cover herself with a hat, or have a job outside from the public view.

Boudlal, 28, refused. She has not worked at Disney from August 21, 2010, said Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney with the ACLU of Southern California, who represents Boudlal.

She filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2010, and received a "notice of right to sue" from the agency on August 8, opening the door to litigation.

Boudlal’s lawyers also said their client, who was born in Morocco, was repeatedly harassed by her co-workers since the beginning of her employment, receiving insults as "terrorist", "camel" and "Kunta Kinte", the name of a slave in the 1976, Alex Haley novel, "Roots."

Boudlal reported the incident to her managers verbally and in writing, Rosenbaum said, but no action has been taken to stop the harassment.

"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a long history of accommodating a variety of religious requests from cast members of all religions," said Suzi Brown, spokeswoman for Disney. "However, because we have not seen the lawsuit, we cannot comment specifically about this situation at this time," she said.



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